Far Cry 5, like a few of Ubisoft's high profile releases, has come with the promise of a weird and wonderful DLC schedule that takes the base game and places it in increasingly strange scenarios. Lost on Mars is the latest bizarre excursion for the open world shooter, and it's probably about what you're expecting.
It doesn't take itself seriously at all, starting with a sketchy setup that sees Nick Rye beamed up to the red planet by none other than Hurk. He needs your help to prevent a Martian invasion of Earth, because there's only so much that a floating head can accomplish. Yes, Hurk's body has been unceremoniously removed, parts of which are scattered across the surface of Mars. To save the Earth, you'll need to return power to various outposts and stations across the map to restore a powerful AI named ANNE.
You aren't given much more information than that before you're off blasting Arachnids, Martian creatures that are all legs and no empathy. They like to leap out at you from beneath the sand Tremors style, making much of the map a dangerous place to be. Killing aliens nets you Hemoleum, a resource you'll use to craft new weapons, items, and suit upgrades that will allow you to more effectively kill aliens. It's hardly an original loop, but it works, and there are some fun weapons and power-ups to toy with, such as laser rifles and the space wings -- essentially the wingsuit from the main game.
The story unfolds as you restore power to antennas, research stations, et al, and it's all delivered with a droll humour that you'll love or hate. Hurk's consciousness is transferred into a robot and can aid you in combat, and his crude commentary is a near constant presence. The map is a fraction of the size of Far Cry 5's, and there isn't a whole lot in it to hold your attention beyond the main objectives: get power cores, get Hurk's body parts, restore power to the various stations. One or two side activities are available, though. You're tasked with hunting down all 15 Queen Arachnids, each one acting as a mini boss, and there are also, oddly, a few Clutch Nixon stunt races. If you like, you can also try to find all the notes left behind by Larry, the human brought to Mars before Hurk.
Overall, it's not a terribly exciting proposition, although the sci-fi weaponry and equipment is fun to use, and you can probably blast through it in about five hours or so. Mars as a setting certainly brings a change of scenery, and it looks rather good, but there's no escaping the fact it's predominantly one colour. Combat against the Arachnids can be frustrating if you allow their numbers to get out of hand, and this is easy to do in the heat of a firefight. If you're on the sand, more will keep coming, and it can quickly get the better of you. They're also rather hardy beasts, especially variations introduced a little later on, although they all have weak spots that make fights a little easier if you're accurate.
That's about all there is to it. Lost on Mars is nothing more than a curious diversion. If you're growing weary of Far Cry 5's Hope County, it could be worth the trip, but the samey objectives make it ring a little hollow.
Lost on Mars is a decent sci-fi distraction from the main game, but it fails to really introduce any new ideas. The irreverent story is fine but isn't particularly memorable, and the silly humour accompanying the action misses more than it hits. The combat can be fun and frustrating in equal measure, while the various things to do don't exactly inspire. It's perfectly serviceable, but despite being set millions of miles away on our neighbouring planet, it's hard to shake the feeling we've been here before.